When you’ve starred in dozens and dozens of films that have a combined box office total in the billions, you tend to have a hard time picking out which ones are your favorite. But alas, that’s exactly what was proposed to actor Samuel L. Jackson, when he recently visited “The Tonight Show.” He was asked by Jimmy Fallon to list his top five characters that he’s portrayed, and unsurprisingly, he had a difficult time leaving it to just five.
Of course, if you’re a film fan, and particularly someone who enjoys the various works of Jackson, you can name a few of the roles on the list. There are the easy ones, like what he put as his #5 choice – Nick Fury. Starring in quite a few of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and poised to add three more in 2019, Jackson has become one of the iconic faces of the largest superhero franchise in history. So, that’s an easy choice.
But that’s the end of the easy choices. When it came down to narrowing down all his roles in the various Quentin Tarantino films, he cheated a bit – keeping all of them as his #4 entry. He specifically name-dropped his characters from “Jackie Brown,” “Django Unchained,” and of course, “Pulp Fiction.”
And it’s that latter role that he says haunts him to this day, as not a week goes by without a fan coming up to him asking him what a Quarter-Pounder with cheese is called in France. He says he plays along, and says, “No, what?” which he feels is a quick way to find out if the fan knows the rest of the scene.
“I’ve had like four people continue and we’ll actually do the scene together,” said Jackson. “It’s awesome.”
After the Tarantino roles, at #3, Jackson names his role as Mace Windu in George Lucas’ “Star Wars” prequels. His reasoning for adding Mace Windu to the list is simple.
“Come on, he’s a Jedi! You can’t beat that,” he said.
Jackson seemingly skips #2 and goes straight for his favorite role of all-time, Mitch Hennessey in “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” That film is an underrated action film from the ‘90s, which starred Geena Davis and Jackson. He explains that he had so much fun on the set making that film and he feels that it truly connected with the audience. Especially during the studio’s test screenings.
“I actually died in that movie. So when they were testing it, they kill me, right? And I’m in the car and I’m dying and it’s a big sad scene. And the audience was like [mimes writing a note], ‘Oh hell no,’” said Jackson.
So there you have it, one of the most prolific actors of the last 30 years breaks down his favorite roles. You may be wondering where Zeus from “Die Hard with a Vengeance” ranks? Or perhaps, Elijah Price from “Unbreakable” and the forthcoming “Glass?” But for me, I’m saddened by the fact that he didn’t include Hold-Up Man from “Coming to America.” Oh well, there’s just so many good choices to honestly limit it to 5.